In his later years, Rabbi Morris Pinsker was the Rav of the New Road Synagogue, which was at 115 New Road in the East End of London. It was built in 1891-92 on a large plot of vacant ground behind nos 113 to 119 New Road. It was the first purpose-built synagogue built by the Federation of Synagogues, and was designed by it’s architect Lewis Solomon. According to the Survey of London, this was one of Whitechapel’s more ambitious and architecturally distinctive synagogues, lantern-lit and ventilated from above through an ornamentally finished queen-post roof. There was space to accommodate 300 worshippers (500 was claimed) on the ground floor and in the three-sided gallery. Surprisingly, the Ark was on the north wall. In 1955 the building was renovated out of the Federation of Synagogues’ war-damage compensation, but membership dropped and the synagogue closed and amalgamated into the East London Central Synagogue in Nelson Street.
Rabbi Morris Pinsker was born in Russia in about 1854. He was the son of Yitzchak, known as Reb Itshe Baal Hashem of Pinsk and Karlin. He came to London before 1891, as Bernard Homa includes him in his list of the founders of the Chevra Machzike Hadath, and their first meeting was in that year. In 1895, a widower with two children, he married Hinde, a widow, also with children, and they established a family. From about 1895 he had a drapers shop at 68 Whitechapel Road.
In 1911 he was the mashgiach (kashrus supervisor) for Rakusens and Bonns in Carlisle and Leeds, and advertisements in the Jewish Chronicle mention that their products were under his supervision. Following that he became the Rav of the New Road Synagogue in London. His book was published in 1934, when he was eighty years old, and he eventually moved to the Home for Aged Jews, where he died in 1942.
The book consists of Rabbi Pinsker’s notes and comments on the Jerusalem Talmud.
The book itself starts with two very prominent Haskomos (approbations). The first is from Dayan Yechezkel Abramsky, writing as the Rav of the Machzike Hadath in London.
The second is from the Trisker Rebbe of London (and later B’nei Brak), Rabbi Yaakov Arye Twersky. He had come to London in 1922. In 1929 he gave his haskoma (approbation) to Rabbi Isaiah Brott’s book Tal Hashamayim (which is in my collection – you can read about it here).
There is a list of people who had given donations to pay for printing the book. Among them is Tzvi Hirsch Berman, the son of Yitzchok Andrusier from the town of Nishvez in Lithuania. I have seen it claimed, without documentation, that Morris (Moshe) Pinsker was also called Andrusier.
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